News and Happenings from the Lake Placid Film Festival
LPFF Chats with Kathleen Carroll
Nelson Page, Vice Chairman of the Adirondack Film Society / Lake Placid Film Festival chats with Kathleen Carroll, Artistic Director & Co-Founder of the LPFF and former film critic for The New York Daily News.
Nelson: We know you as a big city movie critic, who for many years worked for The New York Daily News, but you are, in fact, a native of the North Country. One of my favorite stories you’ve related to me, was that as a young girl growing up in Lake Placid, you were encouraged to talk to strangers. Would you tell us about that?
Kathleen: My parents and my brother and I lived in a small cottage on the grounds of the Lake Placid Club, a private resort that was founded by Melville Dewey, the creator of the Dewey decimal system used by libraries. My parents would occasionally invite club guests to come to their house. Growing up in a resort town that was so dependent on tourism and living on the grounds of the Lake Placid Club meant that my parents all but encouraged us to talk to strangers or at least to their friends who ranged from the CBS newscaster Lowell Thomas to the writer William L. Shirer (the best-selling author of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.”). One of the guests who came to the house was the famous boxer Gene Tunney. He was relaxing in the living room when my brother Kevin, who was a mere tot then, rode his tricycle into the room and bumped into Tunney’s legs. Tunney jumped up, He kept saying “My knees, my knees.” So it was that this famous boxer was nearly outmatched by an aggressive toddler.
Nelson: Over the many years, both here in Lake Placid as well as in your job at the paper, you met with and interviewed dozens of famous people. Which individual stands out as the most interesting and/or fascinating…and yes, you can excuse me from that list!
Kathleen: My curiosity about people eventually helped me when I had to meet such legendary movie stars as Cary Grant (whom I chatted with at a small dinner party in Hollywood while his date for the evening, a young actress, looked plainly bored). I have to admit however that I did find it difficult to talk to Marlon Brando when he suddenly popped up on the rugged Montana location for “The Missouri Breaks.”
But I couldn’t help but warm up to the equally formidable Joan Crawford who called me one evening to invite me and my predecessor at The Daily News, Wanda Hale, to her apartment for cocktails. “Call me Joan,” she insisted. A day later she greeted us at her door wearing no make up and a bathrobe. We feared we had the wrong night but she insisted we come in. She even managed to heat up a frozen quiche for us. Her adorable little dog promptly ate my slice of quiche.
Nelson: I’ll see you at the “Tribute Gala” in your honor, and of course, the festival! Thank you Kathleen, it’s been truly wonderful working with you on the LPFF all these years.
Kathleen: Thank you Nelson.